Every relationship is unique, bringing two different people together in one, loving unit. When you’re ready to make that union official, why should your handfasting be cookie-cutter?
Instead of following someone else’s handfasting ceremony, create your own! It’s easier than you may think if you follow a few simple tips.
Handfasting is a Neopagan custom, initially found in western European countries, in which a couple hold a unity or commitment ceremony. This ceremony is essentially where a couple stands face to face as their hands are tied together — hence the phrase, tying the knot.
Create Your Script
After deciding to make your relationship more permanent, is deciding who you want to officiate your handfasting. Oftentimes, this will be the priest or priestess (sometimes, both!) of your coven. If you’re a solitary practitioner, you can look online for Pagan officiants in your area to interview.
It is a good idea to get a head start on this to ensure that the day you’ve chosen isn’t full and that an officiant is available. However, if you are unaffiliated, you can choose a willing friend or family member instead. There are many online places where your loved ones can become officiants. This is ideal if you’re also having a quarantine ceremony also.
When it comes to creating your handfasting script, you can amend and change it as much as you need to! Many people take a simple wedding ceremony and adjust it to make it more Pagan, substituting “bride” and “groom” with both people’s names, removing any mention of “god,” and more. In some cases, mentions of monogamy are changed if the couple does not follow a monotheistic belief. If you’re Wiccan, you might be inclined to add the Lord and Lady or God and Goddess. With your ceremony, the important part is making sure you feel comfortable and supported on your special day.
Other things to consider when writing your script:
- Do you want a magick circle cast? If yes, do you want it done publicly or privately before the ceremony?
- Do you want music involved? How?
- How long you want the ceremony to be?
- Do you want to include an actual handfasting ritual?
- Will you be exchanging rings? Do you want them blessed?
- Do you want any additional unity rituals included?
- Are you writing your own vows?
Take your time creating your ceremony, and really think about and talk over every element with your partner. The order in which your ceremony progresses is up to you, following what feels right. You can make it as simple or elaborate as you’d like.
Think About the Reception
While having a traditional “wedding” reception isn’t necessary, many Pagans like to celebrate by having a party just like everyone else.
While having a “guest book” is common, that doesn’t mean it just has to be a book that people sign on their way in. Consider letting your guests celebrate your handfasting by writing their wishes and blessings for you, and pressing herbs and flowers into a book as well. Another idea is to have their guests charge a crystal and leave it in a bowl.
It’s also a great idea to add a Pagan twist to any food, drink, or celebratory cake you may serve. It’s common to have a potluck, asking your guests to bring a small, shareable dish. Blessing the food beforehand can be done as well, and involving specific herbs meant to bring luck and love into the cake (mint, lavender, etc.) can add another special element. Some Pagans even choose to create their cake in the shape of a pentacle or a Celtic knot.
With a few Pagan tweaks, and making sure to involve things that are important to you and your partner, any ceremony can become a one-of-a-kind celebration of your special love.